Analysis of interpersonal communication as seen in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Topics: Nonverbal communication, Facial expression, Communication Pages: 5 (1640 words) Published: April 12, 2004
Jessica Diggs


Angela Nebel

April 6, 2004

Like most other movies, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days uses many non-verbal cues to let the audience know how the characters are feeling and what they are thinking, art imitating life, as non-verbal communication is ingrained in everyday existence. Non-verbal communication is so pervasive in everyday life, in fact, that one may not even recognize consciously the cues given to them by others. One example of non-verbal cues in How to Lose a Guy took place in the Composure staff meeting at the beginning of the movie. While the woman perceived immediately to be a brown-noser tells her boss about the pieces she is working on, Andie and a friend are making facial expressions at one another that clearly display their annoyance with the woman. Another example is seen in another meeting, this time with Ben, "the Judys," and their boss. One Judy puts a finger to her lips in an emblematic gesture telling the other Judy to remain quiet. A third non-verbal cue is observed at Ben's poker night with his friends. Andie starts coughing raucously, waving her arms around, and making faces at Ben, cues which collectively tell Ben that he and his friends should put out their cigars. One final example of a non-verbal cue in the movie is one, as is often the case, which the person did not mean to and probably didn't realize she was sending. At the party for DeLauer diamonds, Andie is gazing at Ben across the room and his boss makes the comment that he was pretty sure that Andie loved Ben just because of the way she was looking at him. These are only a few of the many examples of non-verbal communication present in the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

Ben and Andie move from coming together stages to coming apart and back again. The initiating state takes place in the bar after "the Judys" pick Andie for their bet and Ben approaches her. They introduce themselves to one another and decide to get something to eat. Their first dinner together marks the beginning of the experimenting stage, where they are asking one another questions about work and engage in other small talk. The intensifying stage begins the next day when Ben sends Andie flowers as a token of affection. During this stage, Ben and Andie have increased contact, exchange both verbal and non-verbal expressions of affection, and make suggestive actions to try to strengthen the relationship. The integrating stage is really marked by Andie coming over and putting her stuffed animals around, setting up a picture of herself, and putting a new comforter on Ben's bed. These actions are like marking her territory, making Ben and Andie a distinct couple. This is as far as they get in the stages the first time they "come together". Almost overlapping with the integrating stage is the differentiating stage. When Andie brings all of her things over, Ben begins to notice that Andie probably has different goals for the relationship than he does. She seems to want something much more serious. There is really no evidence of the circumscribing or stagnating stages in the relationship between Ben and Andie; they skip directly to avoiding when he tells her he can't go out with her because he "has to work". Later, Ben and Andie skip back to "coming together" on their trip to Staten Island. They reintegrate, this time because of their true emotions and not because of their respective ploys, while with his family and out on the boardwalk. The shower scene marks a turning point for Ben and Andie, which leads to bonding marked by the invitation from Ben to Andie to attend a party as his girlfriend. The relationship abruptly turns again to "coming apart" with the termination of the relationship at the DeLauer diamond party when Ben and Andie each find out about the other's motives in the relationship. After Ben forgives Andie, they go through the integrating stage once again when he chases her down on the bridge while she's on her way to Washington....
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